From my friend Seren Haven’s blog talking about Second Life (sl) an online 3D virtual world community:
Most of us want to make our mark in life somehow. There are few things more disheartening than the feeling that we’ve somehow not lived life to the full and, more to the point, that we’ve not left something of value in our wake – something that says, “i was here!”
There are those of us who feel a sense of horror at the thought that when the time comes to pop our clogs and shuffle off this mortal coil, the only testimony that will remain will be the memories that those closest to us will treasure, and a few faded photographs in a forgotten album.
So we try our utmost to make something lasting that will speak to future generations; tangible evidence that not only were we here, but that we were here with a purpose, that we made a difference and that the world is a better place for us. So, some of us write, or paint, or sing; some do charitable works or live lives of philanthropy; others design and build structures; whilst still others explore the world of academia or pass on their own knowledge to others through teaching. Ultimately, our hope is that at least some of these things will outlive us and go on to inspire, perhaps perplex and form some sort of a connection to those generations that are yet to come. Sometimes, we may even succeed.
You’ll be well aware from many previous posts that i’m entranced, like so many others, with the past – there’s something very special that comes with seeing, touching and sharing something that is far older than oneself, perhaps a family heirloom, handed down and loved through the generations – something that will one day be passed on to the next generation. Then there are the historical artefacts that tell of times long gone; relics of the past that connect us with lives long gone and a world that was very different from the one that we know and, in turn, our own ancestors will no doubt pore over the archaeological finds of the future, amazed at how we managed to get by with our limited ‘internet’ and shaking their heads at our primitive technology.
The same is true of sl: i’ve mentioned on numerous occasions that we should value the virtual things of the past – after all, in a world that changes as rapidly and frequently as sl it’s incredibly easy to forget our roots and the world as it once was, whilst we enjoy all the shiny new and exciting developments as we move into the future. To forget what has gone before is a shameful thing, in my opinion: to do so, devalues the tremendous pioneering work that has gone on before that has made our world as it is today and when the collective memory of a culture fades to the point that it begins to forget its heritage, then it won’t be long before the fundamental things that define it as a culture become assimilated into the wider, blander, less significant whole. A couple of years ago, i watched a programme about a remote tribal culture – it could be argued that the changes wrought as a result of ‘progress’ and being exposed to the modern world were positive overall, however as i watched the tribespeople, clad in their Coca Cola t-shirts and lads playing soccer, because they wanted to be the next David Beckham, i couldn’t help thinking that they’d lost something important. And they had – no-one remained in the village who retained the knowledge of that most basic of human needs: how to make fire. So much for progress.
There’s an awful lot that’s been lost from the collective memory of the sl community too, although if you dig deep enough, you can still find relics from the past and historical accounts of ‘old’ sl – and it’s important that we hang on to these reminders of where we’ve come from. That is why i love the idea of the sl birthday time capsules – repositories of artefacts that give us a taste of everyday SLife as it used to be, so that future generations of residents can use, to be informed and intrigued for – hopefully – many years to come.
This year, i’m incredibly proud to say, my design was chosen to be Second Life’s ninth birthday Time Capsule!
i’m absolutely blown away by the thought that something i’ve created is, quite literally, going to be part of sl history and that it will join that small group of unique pieces that represent the growth and development of sl from its earliest days, right up to the present. Better still, i’m thrilled that my time capsule will contain items preserved as a snapshot in time – a legacy for the future and a reminder of SLife in 2012. It’s a rather humbling thought to know that something you’ve created has been chosen to showcase and represent the sl community in perpetuity, and it’s difficult to express how that makes me feel… little me: a part of sl history! Wow!
There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
The Beatles – In My Life